Superhero costumes are a tricky thing. In a sense, they're all pretty ridiculous. But some are aesthetically pleasing; no matter how impractical the costume seems or how flamboyant the colors are. If the design is harmonious, the reader doesn't ask any questions. Other costumes take us out of the story, make us suspend our disbelief and have us wondering how even a fictional character could wear something as horrendous as that. Still, other costumes may seem fine at the time of our first reading of the story, but decades later, we look back and wonder how we could've ever taken that character seriously.
Although 1980s fashion is making somewhat of a comeback today, there are certain Marvel costumes from the '80s that still stick out to us as the worst of the worst. Some of these costumes are simply the victims of the trends of their day, but others are ridiculous even by the standard of the decade. The mutant community and the West Coast Avengers were hit particularly hard by the more regrettable fashion trends of the decade--and of the more regrettable fashion trends in comics in general. Here are the 20 worst Marvel superhero costumes from the '80s.
Longshot made his first appearance in Longshot #1, created by writer Ann Nocenti and artist Arthur Adams. Partly a clone of Shatterstar (who was also his son; don't ask), Longshot was born in Mojoworld where he was enslaved by the Spineless Ones, a group of invertebrates that ruled over the dimension called Mojoverse. Longshot escaped and fled to Earth where he met up with the X-Men. Longshot worked alongside the X-Men for several missions, helping them to rescue Dazzler from the Juggernaut and to battle the villain known as Horde. Throughout his time on Earth, Longshot continued to have run-ins with Mojo--one of the Spineless Ones intent on taking Longshot back to Mojoworld.
The X-Men universe was hit hard by the fashion of '80s. Few mutants escaped the decade without making some kind of '80s-specific shift to their look. But the mutants that debuted during the '80s were the purest products of their era. Enter Longshot. Mullet? Check. Leather Jacket? Check. Bandolier? Check, and we bet the bandolier came before its function was considered. Longshot's look has evolved over the years, but we don't think we'll ever forget his classic look. It's one of those distinctly '80s costumes that so bad that it's good.
19 WONDER MAN
Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, first appeared in Avengers #9, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Don Heck. Given his powers by Baron Zemo, Wonder Man was originally meant to oppose the Avengers as a member of the Masters of Evil. However, Wonder Man turned on Zemo and joined the Avengers shortly after. During the '80s, Wonder Man jumped onto the original Hawkeye-led West Coast Avengers, which was based in Los Angeles. Ther,e he started to come into his own against the likes of Ultron, Enchantress and Graviton.
Wonder Man has never had the best luck with his costumes.
When he debuted, he wore a green-and-red costume with the classic outer-underwear, along with a number of other generic elements. It was nothing horrible, but it wasn't anything great either. However, during the '80s when Wonder Man joined the West Coast Avengers, he did so wearing one of the all-time ugliest superhero costumes. In most of his costumes, he has a giant red W, as he does with this one. But here, he also has a reverse W, which looks like an M, that's awkwardly anchored in the crotch area. Plus, there's this random yellow diamond in-between the Ws, which seems completely out-of-place with the color scheme.
Alison Blaire, a.k.a. Dazzler, made her first appearance in X-Men #130, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne. Shortly after knowledge of her mutant abilities got out, Dazzler found herself in a struggle between the Hellfire Club and the X-Men. However, she declined to work for either one of them and floated around the Marvel Universe. She teamed up with various superheroes, from Spider-Man to the Inhumans and was even offered membership on the Avengers, which she declined. During the '80s, Dazzler at long last joined the X-Men. At that time, she sported a new look--the one that we think is worthy of this list.
During the '80s, when Dazzler dated fellow hip mutant Longshot, she took on some of his style. Her classic disco look was replaced by her new tough '80s get-up; she threw on a headband and a biker's leather jacket and called it a decade. Of course, she wasn't the only one to fall under the hypnotic trance of '80s trends. At one time an entire X-team wore leather jackets! Luckily, Dazzler toned it down over the years as she distanced herself from Longshot. She still remains a fan-favorite mutant despite her odd mutant ability to turn sound into light.
Max Eisenhardt, a.k.a. Magneto, made his first appearance in X-Men #1, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. After posing as the X-Men's archnemesis for two decades, Magneto reformed and joined his former enemies during the '80s. In Uncanny X-Men #200, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Romita Jr., Magneto takes over Xavier's school after Professor X seemingly died. Magneto becomes the headmaster of the New Mutants to honor his late friend's legacy. His initial turn to the side of the good didn't last too long, and in the '90s he once again took the helm as the X-Men's most fearsome enemy.
When he was with the X-Men, Magneto's costume was a crime against fashion.
Magneto's new look alone was probably enough for fans to beg Marvel for him to go back to the dark side. The best shot of his new costume comes from the cover of Uncanny X-Men #200. While it's difficult to pinpoint Magneto's exact age, he's always been one of Marvel's older villains. That makes it an odd choice for him to show off how big and toned his deltoids are. Plus, does Magneto really need to be buff? That, combined with the giant M plastered across his torso and the long gloves, make him look quite ridiculous.
Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #57, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck. After a short time as a criminal, Hawkeye reformed and joined the second generation of Avengers. Despite his and his teammates' inexperience, the new Avengers proved themselves against difficult enemies like Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror. For a period, Barton took on the alias Goliath, thanks to one of Hank Pym's growth serums, but it wasn't long until he reverted back to being Hawkeye. The Avengers continued to grow and during the '80s they felt the need for an official second team. This group was the West Coast Avengers, led by Hawkeye.
Nobody would accuse Hawkeye of having the best wardrobe. In fact, the costume that he's typically known for is really just accepted out of familiarity. But compared to Hawkeye's costume from after the Kree-Skrull War, all of his other looks are completely fine. Post-Kree-Skrull War, Hawkeye decided to don a new outfit that included a skirt and a headband that made it difficult for fans to take Hawkeye seriously. Luckily, the outfit didn't last that long, and Hawkeye was quickly back to less-horrible looking costumes.
Jubilation Lee, a.k.a. Jubilee, made her debut in Uncanny X-Men #244, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Marc Silvestri. As a mutant with the ability to produce fireworks, Jubilee was targeted by the M-Squad, group of mutant hunters. The X-Men stepped in to help out. Before officially joining the X-Men, Jubilee frequently partnered with Wolverine, fighting against Omega Red, the Hand and Sabertooth. Although she was at first judged to be too young to join the X-Men on missions, Jubilee joined them when they needed her. After her time with the core X-Men, she'd go on to join Generation X, a squad of teenage mutants led by Emma Frost and Banshee.
Even though it's from the late '80s, Jubilee's iconic costume is still used today.
Jubilee's X-Men costume comes from the tradition of not-trying-to-look-like-a-superhero, which comes into fashion every now and then. However, despite the relative mundanity behind the costume choice, it still sticks out in a negative way. The coat that she wears reminds us of yellow raincoats, but the collar on the coat screams the '80s--instantly dating the costume. That, the jean shorts and the pink sunglasses all work to make her an inseparable part of Marvel comics from the '80s. Of course, her costume is one of the few on here that's so bad that it's good.
14 KITTY PRYDE
Kitty Pryde, who's most known by her alias Shadowcat, first appeared in X-Men #129, created by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne. The X-Men and the Hellfire Club both found out about Pryde at around the same time and sought to recruit her. Pryde chose the X-Men and quickly established herself as a major player on the team. She was at the heart of the "Days of Future Past" storyline, which ran in Uncanny X-Men #141-142. In the story, Pryde travels back in time to prevent her dystopian future from coming to pass by stopping the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly.
Early on, Pryde briefly went by the codename Sprite--and designed her own costume to go along with it. Big mistake. This horror debuted in Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 1) #149, and was immediately closeted for the rest of history. To call this outfit "loud" is a tremendous understatement. She's incorporated as many colors as she could in ways that couldn't compliment each other less. Not to mention the socks--what superhero has ever worn socks like that? And the roller skates are just pure comedy. Luckily, this outfit was never meant to be taken too seriously, and even the characters in the comic got a good kick out of it.
Gilgamesh, A.K.A. The Forgotten One, made his debut in Eternals #13, written and drawn by Jack Kirby. Gilgamesh comes from the Eternals, a humanoid race of near-immortals, all gifted with a unique range of superpowers. He fought alongside the rest of the Eternals throughout the centuries against their sworn enemy, the Deviants. During the '80s, he joined the Avengers for a short time. He was introduced to Marvel's mortal heroes during the events of "Inferno," and in the aftermath, agreed to help reform the Avengers. His stint with the team came to an end after he appeared to die at the hands of Immortus. However, his spirit turned out to be alive and well, and he was brought back in a new body.
The Avengers' Gilgamesh may have the worst costume on this list.
Firstly, brown, gold and baby blue are rarely an attractive combination of colors. He could've pulled off the gold and brown, but then he had to go and get that cape. Yet, the design of the costume itself is much worse than whatever colors it uses. The silly helmet with the horns, the vest, the stripes--what was this character thinking? Sure, Marvel was going for a distinct look for a representative of the Eternals, but Gilgamesh looks ridiculous.
12 3D MAN
Charles Chandler, a.k.a. 3-D Man, made his first appearance in Marvel Premiere #35, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Jim Craig. After coming into contact with Skrull radiation, brothers Chuck and Hal Chandler fused to create 3-D Man. One of his most notable achievements as a superhero was the role he played in defeating Kang the Conquerer during Avengers (Vol. 3)#52-55, written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Ivan Reis and Kieron Dwyer. During the event, a time-traveling Kang has conquered Earth. 3-D Man used a mystical artifact to defeat Kang and return Earth back to normal.
3-D Man and his successor, Triathlon, may have the worst long-lasting costume in comics. Most of the time when a character debuts with a terrible costume during the '70s, their look goes through many changes. Not 3-D Man. Nope; 3-D Man stubbornly sticks to the color scheme he chose through the '80s and beyond. The alternating red and green on his costume just doesn't look good. For such a simple design, it's very distracting to the eye. This goes to show that a character can have tons of different colors on their costume, but if they're not harmonized, the reader will reject it without a second thought.
David Cannon, who's gone by the Human Top and Whirlwind, made his debut in Tales to Astonish #50, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. As the Human Top, Cannon fought against some of Marvel's most formidable heroes, including Spider-Man, Giant-Man and the Fantastic Four. Fresh out of prison, Cannon renamed himself Whirlwind and clashed with the Avengers. Since then, Whirlwind has made a repeated effort to work with other supervillains. His first outing on a supervillain squad was with the second iteration of the Masters of Evil, where he worked with the likes of Ultron, Klaw and Radioactive Man. Later groups that he joined include Batroc's Brigade, Lethal Legion and the future iterations of the Masters of Evil.
Whirlwind's revealing costume makes it seem like he lost a bet.
Why else would he wear that? He has a classic Juggernaut-like helmet, which is fine. But then he also has a single panel of armor running across his bare chest that look like nipple protectors. We suppose that it has to do with keeping his helmet in place, but regardless of whatever its function is, it looks ridiculous. Also, what's with the fins on the helmet? Supposedly, they'd help with air resistance, but sometimes aesthetics should be considered over realism.
The Beyonder made his debut in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1, written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Michael Zeck. The being simply known as the Beyonder was the first of the race of Beyonders to be introduced--arguably the most powerful species in Marvel Comics. The godlike Beyonder came onto the scene during the '80s as the antagonist behind one of Marvel's first big events, the original Secret Wars. During the event, the Beyonder transported many of Earth's heroes and villains onto a planet called Battleworld. The Beyonder pitted the two sides against one another to see if good or evil was stronger.
Beyonder had a couple of different looks, but in this particular cover--from Avengers (Vol. 1) #261--he looks ridiculous. The plate of armor that swings up from his sternum to form massive shoulder pads says it all. It looks very out of place; even by comic standards, these shoulder pads look egregiously cartoonish. Why does one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse borrow his look from the National Football League? And why does an all-powerful being like the Beyonder need shoulder pads? Luckily, this unfortunate look didn't last for long, and the Beyonder returned to a less horrendous look.
Georges Batroc made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #75, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Adam Austin. Batroc, or "Batroc the Leaper", is a longtime nemesis of Captain America. Cap was introduced to Batroc when Batroc was working as an infamous mercenary for the villainous organization T.H.E.M. The two met a second time after Batroc sold his services to Hydra. Shortly after working with Hydra, Batroc formed the Batroc's Brigade. The team was concerned with taking down Cap and consisted of villains such as Whirlwind, Living Laser and the Swordsman. Batroc went onto join several other teams, including an evil version of the Defenders, Lethal Legion and the Thunderbolts.
Batroc's strange signature look lasted throughout the '80s and beyond.
Although the outer underwear is a tradition in superhero comics, it stands out in a particularly bad way on Batroc. Part of it is just how it's connected with everything else--the gold stripe down the torso, the purple jumpsuit and his signature mustache. Granted, purple is a classic villains' color, but it seems off on Batroc when combined with the elements of gold that he's incorporated into his costume. Since the '80s, Batroc's look hasn't changed all that much. The color scheme remains the same, but there have been some improvements on the costume's basic design.
Wendell Vaughn, a.k.a. Quasar, first appeared in Captain America #217, created by writers Roy Thomas and Don Glut and artist John Buscema. Vaughn was a security guard for Stark Industries, who was hired to protect the Quantum Bands when he was forced into action. A.I.M. attempted to get their hands on the Bands, but Vaughn proved himself capable of wielding the cosmic weapons. From there he became Quasar and wandered the universe, often battling cosmic-level threats. Some of the insanely powerful entities he clashed with include Maelstrom, Unbeing and Origin. Although he was thought to have died during the events of Annihilation, it turned out that part of Vaughn's soul was infused with the Bands. Thanks to the Bands, he's still around today.
Quasar's costume seems unnecessarily complicated, and because of that, it's quite forgettable. The color scheme is attractive enough, but the design of the costume is a bit on the noisy side. We aren't really sure what's up with the symbol on his chest. Although it represents something cosmic, we can't believe the designers of the costume couldn't have come up with something more memorable. Plus, there's that headband, because, you know, traversing the cosmos and fighting the universe's toughest baddies can make a guy break a sweat. Fortunately, this costume didn't last too long and Quasar received a better one--along with a better symbol.
Marco Scarlotti, who's gone by both Blacklash and Whiplash, made his debut in Tales of Suspense #97, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan. Blacklash established himself as a persistent enemy of Iron Man's early on. Originally, Blacklash served the Maggia, a group composed of a number of New York-based crime families. Later, he worked for Justin Hammer, a business rival of Stark's who funded criminal activities. Though he most often clashed with Iron Man, he branched out when working for Hammer, and fought against Spider-Man and the Thunderbolts among others. Blacklash met his end in Iron Man (Vol. 3) #28 when Iron Man's sentient armor killed Blacklash, despite Stark's commands for the armor to stand down. In his absence, Anton Vanko would become the new Whiplash--albeit, a technologically enhanced one.
Blacklash looks more like a circus performer than a supervillain.
The v-neck and giant collar combo seem to be inspired by Dracula, while the bulk of his costume looks to be an imitation of Zoro. Where his generic mask fails at helping him to stand out, his long green hair makes up for. His bad looks are only exacerbated by how lousy his powerset is. If it weren't for his cybernetically controlled whips, he'd be no match for any hero in the Marvel Universe. And, frankly, we're surprised he wasn't accidentally slain by one of Iron Man's uber-powerful armors earlier.
Eros, a.k.a. Starfox, made his first appearance in Iron Man #55, written by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich and drawn by Jim Starlin. As one of the siblings of Thanos, Starfox is extremely powerful. Unfortunately, he doesn't make the most of his abilities. When he's not seeking out love affairs across the cosmos, he does some good. He helped the Avengers score their first big win over Thanos and served as an Avenger against enemies like Maelstrom and Terminus. He frequently comes into conflict with his Death-obsessed brother and has fought Morgan le Fay and Thanatos, among others. Recently, he returned from space to help Earth's heroes against Ultron.
Some of the worst costumes on this list are bad because they are products of their era that were designed with little foresight on how ridiculous they'd look in the future. Starfox's costume is one of these costumes. His disco-collar says it all--which is pretty funny when you think about how Starfox arrived on Earth from a distant galaxy that apparently just happened to have the same fashion sense of Earthlings of the day. Aside from the disco-collar, his costume isn't too bad. Luckily, when he appears nowadays, it's often without the collar.
William Baker, a.k.a. Sandman, was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #4, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. Baker was a common criminal before he mutated into a creature of sand. Sandman quickly came into conflict with Spider-Man in his early days, the hero who he'd most frequently clash with over the following decades. After his first solo outing was a failure, Sandman joined the original Sinister Six team. Later he joined another supervillain squad known as the Frightful Four, along with the Wizard, Paste-Pot Pete and Madame Medusa. It didn't take long for the team to fall apart and have to rebuild. It was when Sandman was a member of the second iteration of the Frightful Four that he debuted a horrendous outfit.
Even though he's made out of sand, Sandman wore a heavily-armored costume.
Sandman is best known for his modest striped green shirt and brown pants. But once upon a time, he embraced the supervillain gimmick and went all out with a terrible get-up. As a member of the Frightful Four, Sandman donned a mask for the first time--apparently hoping that the public wouldn't figure out that he was, in fact, the same green-loving sand creature that had been terrorizing New York for the past two decades. Yep--he's not the brightest criminal of the bunch.
Frederick Myers, a.k.a. Boomerang, made his debut in Tales to Astonish #81, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan. Boomerang was first employed by the evil organization known as Secret Empire and then went onto work for Justin Hammer, the evil Defenders and the Sinister Syndicate. He's foughten against a wide range of Marvel's heroes, including Hulk, Spider-Man, Nick Fury and Daredevil. During the Superior Spider-Man era, Boomerang formed his own Sinister Six, but the Doc Ock-possessed Spider-Man made quick work of the team.
In case you didn't realize that Boomerang's gimmick involved boomerangs from his name, he's stuck a few on his costume. It probably makes the most sense for him to have them on his belt--but on his chest? And awkwardly anchored on his nipples no less? But the killer is the boomerang on his forehead. We wonder if he's ever used that one because it seems like he could easily forget about it. Plus, you know he's got to be reluctant about actually using those boomerangs--how else would people know that he's Boomerang? Luckily, in the past decade or so Boomerang has come up with a new costume. No more chest or head boomerangs. Instead, he pulls them from a contraption on his back, which seems much more useful.
Mortimer Toynbee, a.k.a. Toad, made his first appearance as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Toad was one of the villainous mutants enlisted by Magneto to join the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. After a falling out with the team, Toad renamed himself "The Terrible Toad King" for a period when he preyed on individual members of the X-Men. Later, Toad befriended Spider-Man and sought to become the web-head's official partner despite the latter's protests. Instead of teaming up with Spider-Man, Toad teamed up with two other Spider-Man wannabes, Frog-Man and Spider-Kid.
Since he was created, Toad has always looked pretty ridiculous.
He didn't do anything too '80s to exacerbate his look; he just didn't do anything to change it. But his costume from the cover of Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #266 is particularly jarring. He looks like a toddler dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween. Heck, it's hard to say whether he or Frog-Man looks worse. If there's any consolation here, it's probably that Toad doesn't care at all. Never has, never will. The guy seems to embrace his inherently nasty powers and reflects that in the costumes he wears.
Greer Grant, a.k.a. Tigra, made her debut in The Cat #1, created by writer Linda Fite and artist Marie Severin. Due to a lab experiment, Grant received superhuman abilities and became the vigilante known as the Cat. Unlike most of Marvel's heroes, the Cat worked primarily in the Chicago area, where she frequently brushed up against Hydra. After a fight with Hydra, the Cat was saved by a group of ancients known as the Cat People, who further enhanced her abilities and transformed her into Tigra. Tigra went onto join the Avengers and then the West Coast Avengers. Most recently, she was a member of the Fearless Defenders, a group of female heroes assembled by Misty Knight.
Tigra is one of the most scantily-clad female superheroes in the Marvel universe--and that's saying something. Why can't she wear anything more than undergarments? Is it just so she can say, "Yes, I'm fully cat-like. Look at the stripes on my ribcage!" It just doesn't seem like a very practical costume (if it can be called that) for fighting some of the most fearsome enemies in the Marvel Universe. Luckily for her, she wasn't alone in being one of Marvel's worst-dressed heroes during the '80s. Her team, the West Coast Avengers, have a few members on this list.
1 HANK PYM
Hank Pym, who's gone by various aliases including Ant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket, made his first appearance in Tales to Astonish #27, written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and drawn by Jack Kirby. Pym was a biochemist who discovered a group of subatomic particles that were called Pym Particles. He was able to use the Pym Particles to grant him superpowers--initially as the shrinking Ant-Man, and later as the growing Goliath or Giant-Man. Pym worked solo for his first few years as a hero, but eventually joined the Avengers and various offshoots of the Avengers. For a period, he gave up on all of his various superhero aliases and just went back to being a scientist. In recent years, Pym hasn't been doing so well. His evil creation, Ultron, has merged with him, forcing him to battle his comrades.
When he didn't have a superhero identity, Pym wore an all-red jumpsuit.
Hank Pym's "costume" here is from when he was simply called a "scientific adventurer" during his time with the West Coast Avengers. But, apparently, he couldn't get past his love of the color red. If Pym's role at this time was to just be himself--a scientist--why the get-up? The whole look seems unnecessary and goofy, especially in combination with his role as "scientific adventurer."